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> Martin Carthy > Songs > Happiness


[Molly Drake]

Eliza Carthy sang Molly Drake’s song Happiness in 2014 on her and Martin Carthy’s duo album, The Moral of the Elephant. She noted:

The wistful quality in this song is present on the whole of the Molly Drake album. I confess I’ve never investigated the work of her son Nick in depth, but I think I was maybe waiting to meet Molly, because now I have, I think I understand a little better. The nineteen songs in the collection, recorded at home by Molly’s husband who was a “tape recording enthusiast” and never intended for release, are full of an old Englishness, of musing and reminiscences, childhood, picnics in the wood, and emotional and humorous intelligence beautifully expressed to a piano I can’t help but see in a drawing room, bathed in afternoon light. It’s all very romantic, and now never far from my stereo. I may be mellowing… she may be helping. She apparently walked from Burma to India, a distance of five hundred or so miles, to escape the Japanese, and remained perfectly made-up and coiffed for the entire journey.


Eliza Carthy sings Happiness

Happiness is like a bird with twenty wings,
Try to catch him as he flies.
Happiness is like a bird that only sings
When his head is in the skies.

You can try to make him walk beside you,
You can say the door is open wide.
If you grab at him, woe betide you,
I know because I’ve tried.

Like a butterfly upon an April morning
Very quickly taking fright,
Happiness is come and gone without a warning,
Jack-O-Lantern in the night.

I will follow him across the meadow,
I will follow him across the hills,
And if I can catch him I will try to bring you,
Oh yes, happiness.
And if I can catch him I will try to bring you
All my love and happiness.